More March madness

My earlier post mentioned the busyness of March.  As the first part of the month has been unfolding more interesting days and dates have come to my attention.

The first of these was Pi day or π day.  The date (written the US was 3.14.16).  Pi is 22/7 or a very long number beginning 3.14.  It was another crazy hashtag on social media; I realised what it meant when someone joked about 14.3.16 being the way we express the date in the UK.

The following day was the Ides of March, a date immortalised by William Shakespeare in his play, Julius Caesar.

Beware the Ides of March!

The Romans had a different way of expressing dates from whichever numerical system we favour nowadays.

The 16th of March was Budget Day in the UK Parliament (the one in London).  On social media there was a campaign to spread awareness of a very important verse in the Bible.  In the Good News (Gospel) written by St John Chapter 3 verse 16 (3.16 – the US date) we read in the New International Version (NIV):

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

This is a verse, which many people use to begin to explain why they are Christians.  In an older translation, the words are set to beautiful music in the choral work, Stainer’s Crucifixion.  Last Sunday the church choir I sing in performed this as the anthem.  It was appropriate for Passion Sunday, when we think about God’s son dying for us.  We are going to sing the whole work (apart from some verses of very long hymns) one evening in Holy Week.  Other performances are being promoted on Twitter.

Then the 17th was St Patrick’s Day. Through him Christianity spread in Ireland, where he became the patron saint. He was not Irish, but from mainland Britain and possibly the area now known as Cumbria.  Far more fuss seems to be made of his day than of our own patron saint’s day.  St George’s Day is 23rd April, which was also the birthday of William Shakespeare.  This year (2016) is the 400th anniversary of his death and is being marked by many special events.

Tomorrow (20 March) is Palm Sunday, which is the beginning of Holy week.  There are extra midweek services in many Christian churches as Easter approaches.

So my one word for 2016, Rest, is set against the busyness of this month.  Some of the additional activities are restful.  Other tasks may perhaps be postponed.  There is no need to be perpetually rushing.  I have been taking a break from knitting, sewing and craft group, but I have been reading books, colouring and playing Scrabble®.  I’ll be writing about the books in a future post.

Are you finding March extra busy?


A Game of Scrabble®

My childhood memories include playing Junior Scrabble®, first the easy side, where the words were given and had to be covered with letters, then the freestyle version on the reverse.  Next my parents invited me to join with them and sometimes Grandmother playing Scrabble®.

While I was not given any advantages due to my youth, they did help me learn some techniques to improve my score.  I wrote in an early post on this blog about my competitive streak.  I enjoy playing. As well as being fun, it helps keep my vocabulary active and (as I usually keep the score) gives me a reason to do simple arithmetic.

Now there are only two people left against whom I ever play.  One is Mum, who taught me the word QI, after playing with a neighbour.  However, she does not like the fact that I have learned most of the permitted two letter words!  The other is hubby, who is not good at spelling, but has his own methods of winning.  He is likely to block all the places the Q could be played, if he thinks I am trying to put it on the board!

Also we have adjusted the rules for our own enjoyment.  Each of us has a reference book to hand.  Instead of waiting to challenge a possible wrong word, we look before playing.  My favourite reference book includes the meanings.  If hubby puts down an incorrect word, I do not penalise him for it, but let him take his turn again.  “What’s that word?” is a regular question.   Sometimes it is a technical word I haven’t met (or remembered).  Other times it is a genuine spelling mistake.

Recently I managed to play all the seven letters in my rack twice in the same game.  I have to admit I played a word I did not previously know – MANDIRS.(I was checking whether MANDRIL was permitted (no) and spotted it.  I also checked that REECHOES does not require a hyphen.

(In a subsequent game, when I had cheated by using a word I had discovered in the book, I lost.  We considered that to be poetic justice!)

At the end of the game the scores were 481 and 236 giving 717 in total.  Of course this included 2×50 in bonus points.  I had two tiles left.  As far as I remember they were both the letter I.


A high-scoring game

It is interesting that every game of Scrabble® seems to be unique.  It does not seem to be possible to use every triple word score space in a game.

Do you play Scrabble®?  Have you any interesting observations to make about the game?



Blog Every Day in November is a challenge hosted by Elizabeth of Rosalilium a lifestyle blog Today’s topic is How do you relax on Sunday?

Sunday is traditionally a day of rest or Sabbath.  This is important.  It is one of the Ten Commandments.  The Jews were very strict in their observation of the Sabbath.  Jesus shocked them on many occasions by the things He did on the Sabbath.  He healed the sick on a number of Sabbaths.  So how can we observe the Sabbath in the modern world?  God has made it clear that it is important that we rest and do not work every day.  We have our weekends, which for many people are not working days.  However for others working shifts means that some weekends are workdays for them and some weekdays are not.  There are many tasks which cannot be left undone on any day of the week.  However, I believe that there are certain days (Sundays, Good Friday and other Holy days) when shops should be closed.  Holy day is after all the derivation of our word holiday.

So what about my Sundays?

As I am in the church choir, I have to be ready for a fairly early start.  We have a practice each Sunday (except in August) beginning one hour before the service.  We practise most of the hymns and an anthem for that morning’s worship, we learn new anthems or practise carols or other works, which will be needed later in the year.  As I sing alto, I have to read the music and listen to the piano and other singers to learn my part.  It is much harder work than just singing the tune!

In the service the choir has to concentrate and be ready to lead the congregation in words and music.  After the service I like to stay for a drink of coffee and a chat with various people.  I like to give out leaflets and any other items of information, which people may forget to pick up.

I sometimes chat with visitors.  Usually there is at least one other person to walk part of the way home with at lunch-time.

There are plenty of programmes on Radio Three which hubby likes to listen to on a Sunday afternoon.  I am not good at sitting and doing nothing, so after lunch (prepared by hubby) I might sit and knit or read.  I have to confess I do not make this a computer-free day, although I try not to do much writing at the weekend!  I may also play the piano at some stage in the day.  If the weather is fine we sometimes go for a walk.  I may do my homework for the Bible study group I attend.

I usually make a roast dinner on Saturday, so that there is something left-over, which requires less preparation time the next day.

In the evening we sometimes play games such as Scrabble and Rummikub.